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Recovering corrupted or missing files from GoPro

8 September 2017

Recently, on my way to Belize and a very first attempt at snorkelling, I decided to splash out on a GoPro HERO Session camera. Although I already own a Drift Stealth 2 action cam, I was attracted to the Session's waterproof credentials, allowing it to be used down to a depth of 10 metres without any additional housing.

As it was a last minute purchase on my way through the US, I grabbed the 32GB SD card out of my Drift, downloaded the Android app and shot a couple of test videos in my hotel room that evening before heading out to sea the following day.

That's when the problems started; in the light of day, on a small boat drifting in the Caribbean, the Session would freeze within a few seconds every time I hit record. I reformatted the card and turned off Protune to reduce the bitrate being written to the card. But, far from any mobile signal, there was little further troubleshooting I could do as sharks began to swarm around our boat.

Following my first excursion to see the Belize Barrier Reef, I realised that my fins were a little tight and, consequently, I was bleeding from both feet. It's at this point that our guide suggested we all dive in to swim among the sharks.

Despite my technical (and now also health) troubles, I took the Hero back in with me and, to my delight, was able to capture 12 whole minutes of sharks and stingrays before the camera froze up yet again. To my dismay, upon returning to the boat and opening the app, it appeared that only six short clips (totalling barely 5 minutes) had actually been saved to the SD card, with all my other footage having disappeared.

I moved the micro SD card to my phone briefly (in hindsight, not a great idea, more on that in a moment) in the hope of finding my missing footage and also looked for it through Windows Explorer on my laptop. Sadly, despite some initial optimism when I found a directory called LOST.DIR in the root of the drive (this turned out to be empty), I was unable to find any of the missing video files on my card.

Back home in Blighty, memories began to fade and, more importantly, I had a video to make. So I searched for specialist software that might help me recover my missing data.


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